Friday, June 24, 2011
Reality is in the Eye of the Beholder
Relationships are difficult because we usually think we are the reasonable ones. Then why do we sometimes seem unreasonable to others? Because reality is always in the eye of the beholder. And that is why if we can take a split second to imagine there might be something else going on than what we are just about to react to, we can effect a different outcome. We can effect a different outcome because we will be having a different emotional reaction to the same scene. Instead of being angry, depressed, or upset in some way which we will then feel we must communicate to the other person, we will be okay and connected to them instead of distancing them . This holds true at home or at work.
Case in point from my own life.
My husband and I were cleaning up the patio. I was using the blower and my husband asked me to stop doing the patio and, instead, blow the wood chips out of the back of his car so he could move it and not get the blower dust from the patio all over his car. I was quite willing to do this and headed in the direction of his car. I stopped on my way to the car and asked him to move the two dog pads off the patio.
HIS REALITY: I wasn’t doing what he wanted by blowing the wood chips out of the car first and, instead, was asking him to move the pads so I could continue to blow off the patio.
MY REALITY: I was on the way to the car to do what my husband asked and only stopped to ask him to move the dog pads because I didn’t want to be late for yoga class and this would save me time when I came back to blow off the patio.
Result: he got angry and threw the dog pads aside in disgust. I was annoyed by his temper which I thought was uncalled for.
Later when we discussed the really inconsequential incident (it’s easier to discuss inconsequential incidents than huge big disputes) my husband said he would have been quite willing to move the dog pads to make it faster for me if he realized I was going to do his car first before continuing to blow off the patio. Therefore he wouldn’t have been angry and upset and neither would I.
Actually at first when we discussed the incident, it wasn’t so successful and my husband said:
“So what you are telling me is that I shouldn’t reveal my feelings to you, that I should hide my anger from you.“
Of course that wasn’t the point and we finally got to the point. The point that was most difficult for my husband to see is that had he seen a different reality, he wouldn’t have been angry in the first place. It wasn’t a matter of not being honest about “communicating our feelings” is was a matter of seeing a different reality causes us to have different feelings. This is why some wise man once said “an unexamined life isn’t worth living.”
LESSON FOR US: My husband could examine his negative emotions to see if he could look at the situation in a different way and see a different reality. I could communicate my intentions more clearly even if I'm in a hurry.